How can I count the quarter note and dot in this example? enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Whenever approaching difficult rhythms, I always recommend subdividing into smaller values. For this example, we can subdivide this into eighth notes.

Assuming this is in 4/4 time, we have eight eighth notes in the measure, often counted "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &."

The first eighth note only takes up one of these eighth notes, the "1."

The next note, a dotted quarter, takes up three eighth notes. This is because the dot adds half the value of what precedes it. Since a quarter takes up two eighth notes, this dot add half of that two. Two and one make three, so this note is worth three eighth notes.

But it's also tied to another dotted quarter, so we have a value of three eighth notes tied to another three, so these two notes take up sixth eighth notes altogether.

Since the first note only took up the first "1," this next articulation begins on the "&" immediately after and takes us through '2 & 3 & 4.'

The final note is of course just a single eighth note, so it takes the final "&" of the measure.

So to count this, I recommend starting by saying, out loud, "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &."

Then, remove the non-articulated eighth notes: 1 & (2 & 3 & 4) &.

  • 1
    Good to see there wasn't a dotted minim! More and more I see no division into two equal halves in 4/4 time, making it harder to read, for me at least. It may of course be the program used to print out. +1. I often simply count 1 to 8 eschewing the &.
    – Tim
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:31
  • 1
    @Tim I hadn't even imagined a dotted half there. Thanks for making my day worse! :-)
    – Richard
    Jun 6, 2020 at 23:51

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